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constitute the distinctive notes of the “Revolt of Islam.” If justice is to be done to these, and at the same time to those episodical beauties which no editor could pass without a pang, the poem will claim more than its share of space, and the same difficulty will recur with every composition of any considerable length. Hence, although the task of selection is most fascinating to every person endowed with a taste for poetry, and one which no such person can perform without accomplishing something excellent, it seems better on the whole to pursue the more modest course adopted here. Even this affords a field for the exercise of taste and skill, on which the editor might have adventured himself. It was not absolutely necessary to adhere to the strictly chronological order of the poems. They might have been grouped so as to lead imperceptibly from one phase of the poet's mind to another, and to form collectively but a single poem; or they might have been made to enhance each other's splendour by contrast, like jewels in a diadem, instead of
and exquisite. The same consideration fully justifies the disappearance of “The Masque of Anarchy" and
two slighter pieces inspired by political animosity. is less easy to account for the omission of “The Triumph of Life," so much more legitimately ranked among “minor poems” than "Epipsychidion," or "The Witch of Atlas." Surely not merely because it is incomplete ? Yet it would seem so, for no other motive can be surmised for the omission of “A Vision of the Sea," which the author nevertheless deemed sufficiently complete for publication in his lifetime. The procedure of the two editions is diametrically opposite as respects the lyrical passages of “Hellas." The former gives all except the first, the latter the first only. All should be given or none, and painful as it is to turn aside from such examples of the highest lyrical inspiration, it is difficult to find a reason for their insertion which would not equally justify that of the corresponding passages in “Prometheus.” A more important divergence is that
while Moxon's edition gives the first two cantos of "Queen Mab” according to the original text, under the fancy title of “Ianthe," this one presents Shelley's own revision of it-as for the first time fully and accurately printed by Mr. Buxton Forman--under his own title of “The Dæmon of the World.” The reasons which dictate adherence to the text of the original “ Queen Mab” in Shelley's collected works, are equally conclusive in favour of the abridged recension in an edition of his minor pieces. Its publication here, it may be anticipated, will be especially welcome to those readers of Shelley who do not happen to possess the editions containing “The Dæmon of the World.” They will now have the opportunity for a most instructive comparison between Shelley's first and second thoughts. He evidently laboured to modify the originally didactic character of the poem, but ουδέποτ' άν θείης λείον τον τραχύν éxivov.
This tendency is indeed characteristic of Shelley's poetical development in general,
walk, a plant in a casement, the tinkle of a guitar, is sufficient foundation for a lyric not less impassioned, if more subdued in expression, than that erewhile consecrated to "the breath of Autumn's being.” The modification may be illustrated by a comparison of two poems allied in sentiment, the “Stanzas written in Dejection " (1818); and “Rarely, rarely comest thou” (1821). In the first, style and melody divide attention with the feeling; sympathy is almost impaired by admiration. In the second, style and melody, though not really less exquisite, are hardly observed; and the felicity of the diction is almost concealed by its appropriateness. It is time to acknowledge that the poet who most absolutely wielded the verbal and metrical resources of his mother-tongue, was also the most perfect master of poetical simplicity it has possessed, and that the very end and aim of his training seems to have been to make him so
The care bestowed upon this selection by its original framer needs no comment. Mr.
Forman's text has been followed throughout. Recently discovered poems, such as the exquisite “Lines in the Bay of Lerici," have been inserted, and the titles of others rendered agreeable to Shelley's intention. some instances this is very important; thus the lines at p. 347, and at p. 30, gain greatly in beauty and effectiveness by being known to be respectively addressed to Edward Williams and to Coleridge. The latter address is a remarkable instance of Shelley's psychological insight. Coleridge would not have written otherwise about himself.
In conclusion, the hope may be expressed that a selection so well adapted for a wide circulation as the present may contribute to render Shelley a popular poet. The existing estrangement of the highest poetry from popular sympathy is equally to be regretted in the interest of the poet and his nation. The former cannot attain the full measure of his fame and influence until his words are household words: it is ill for the latter when its best minds are among it, but not of it.